tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
I think it took me four years to finish this story because, early on, I realised I was basically writing it for an audience of one *g*. Hands up anyone who even remembers this canonical pairing!

You'll have to have seen the Season 1 episode 'Vick's Chip' for this story to make much sense.Or maybe you could get away with just knowing this much about the episode. ) I could write paragraphs of meta about how much I love that episode: the complex, layered parallels between humans who protect and kill, and machines who do the same; Sarah's compassion and sorrow; John's realisation of the true alienness of machines.

"All of us wear masks. They can be worn out of love and the desire to remain close to those around us. To spare them from the complicated realities of our frayed psyches. We trade honesty for companionship and in the process never truly know the hearts closest to us."

God, I miss this show.

Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Title: Someone I Used To Know
Pairing: Barbara Chamberlain/Vick Chamberlain
Length: 12,055
Rating: Some het sex of the human/robot variety
Warnings: There's nothing in the story itself, but if you've seen the episode you'll probably be reminded of its scene of horrific domestic violence.
Summary: This is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Vick Chamberlain.
tevere: ray making 'facepalm' gesture (facepalm)
Not surprisingly, considering my advanced state of jetlag when I signed up for Yuletide, I made what nearly turned out to be a fatal miscalculation: "Why, I'll just make offers in all the fandoms I'd be delighted to receive a story in!"


It's one thing to enjoy a Bollywood film as a cultural outsider, and another thing entirely-- as a cultural outsider-- to attempt to write an insider-perspective of two desi characters interacting with each other. Two Yuletides ago I wrote the Snake Agent story This Sweet and Bitter Orange Mood, which is set in a fantasy Singapore that's a lot like 1960s Hong Kong, and I remember how I could hear the characters-- I could make a reasonable guess at what they'd say and how they'd say it (and in which dialect), how they viewed the world, how they conveyed their understandings of belonging and not-belonging. Scratch all of that this time around. Not only could I not hear the characters (a problem exacerbated by the fact that they speak Hindi), I had barely any understanding of their cultural context. It was actually quite a distressing experience, because it's not like I wanted to be faily, but I didn't have the capacity not to be (nor the time to do the research that might have remedied that). Call it Yuletide karma for that time I bitched about how Snake Agent doesn't properly represent Chinese culture.

I nearly ended up defaulting, but the Yuletide gods were merciful to my recipient and I somehow managed to enlist the endlessly generous [personal profile] azuire to, essentially, co-write the story with me. Everything that's right about it is due to her efforts, and everything that feels off is solely my fault. [personal profile] azuire, I can't thank you enough! I also owe [personal profile] dhobikikutti for her valuable input and advice-- thank you, Kutti.

Anyway, if you haven't seen Dostana, you're missing out-- it's a delightful romp based on the Pretending to Be Gay trope, and I like it a lot. If you're interested, my introduction post (with pretty pictures!) is here. The sequel is due out this year, but-- hmm, I honestly suspect the only place this franchise can go is downhill.

a glorious white sand beach, light green sea, with a limestone island in the centre of the frame
Krabi Province, Thailand. Ironically, I found out after I'd written the story that this is where 'Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai' was actually filmed.

When the Lamps are Lighted (4077 words)
Fandom: Dostana (2008)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kunal Chauhan/Sameer Acharya
Summary: Maybe this is their love story.
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
Currently back in Saigon after a few days in central Vietnam-- more on that later!

So, for Yuletide this year I wrote a story for Liz Williams' Inspector Chen series: This Sweet and Bitter Orange Mood, which is about Inari finding her way home. I want to give special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] the_grynne for her super-speedy help and beta services, and to [livejournal.com profile] bantha_fodder for reading my initial draft and pointing me in the right direction!

I don't think the series is that well-known, and the only place I've ever seen any of the books in a bookshop is in New Zealand-- I had to resort to Amazon to buy the first in the series, 'Snake Agent'. The premise is fabulous: a world in which the Heaven and Hell of traditional Chinese belief are real, their demons and deities coexisting with the human world. Inspector Chen Wei forms a reluctant (and mildly slashy) partnership with his counterpart from Hell's Vice Division, Zhu Irzh, to solve supernatural mysteries and occasionally rescue Chen's demon wife, Inari, from Hell's clutches.

That said-- with no criticism intended of my Yuletide recipient, or of other fans of the series (including those who left wonderful, thoughtful feedback on my story), I have to say: as a mixed-race member of the Chinese diaspora, I find the series deeply, deeply frustrating. Don't get me wrong: I love the idea of fiction based on Chinese mythology, traditional beliefs and religion-- it's what made me hunt down the series in the first place and start reading with such glee. Fantasy novels! Set in Asia! About Chinese people!

...Except, as it turns out, not so much about Chinese people. I mean, I get it: it's hard to write characters from a culture you're not familiar with. But what really hurts me-- what makes me boggle-- is the fact that while the author has freely borrowed from Chinese myths and beliefs and religion (and again: fine with that!), she has clearly chosen not to make the effort to write characters who think, act, or even live in the same physical and cultural environment as actual Chinese people.

It hurts me, and it makes me angry, that when writing about us an author can so thoughtlessly overwrite our food and replace it with her own (kale, chocolate, chowder); who can replace our cultural and pop-culture references with her own (repeated references to dated American TV shows-- to the exclusion of any references to Asian literature or media); our language with her own (characters explicitly searching for and using Western proverbs and sayings, when Chinese equivalents exist); our names with those of her own creation (why use keymash constructions when Chinese demons traditionally have Chinese names, e.g. Yan Luo, Meng Po); who can randomly insert elements from other Asian cultures into a supposedly Chinese narrative (why does Zhu carry a katana rather than a jian?); who replaces our own bureaucracies with foreign structures and concepts (SWAT units, guilds, Seneschal, American police ranks e.g. Captain Su Sung); and who blithely makes statements that are just factually wrong and/or culturally inappropriate (Chen telling Ma that Hell is called the Yellow Springs because it's named after an actual yellow spring; "Little Pearl Tang, trussed like a sacrificial chicken"; "The thought of Tang's freedom chafed him like a yak-hair shirt").

Perhaps, with the feelings I have towards the canon, I shouldn't have offered this fandom in the first place. But at the same time-- isn't fanfiction the chance to at least try and make some things right again? I hope my Yuletide recipient enjoyed the story anyway, regardless of why I chose to write it.

If you are a fan of the series, or read it in the future, please just be aware that while it is a story about Asian characters (which is always fabulous to see in fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi), those characters are seen very much through a white, Western, American lens. [ETA: Apparently she's British, which makes the constant Americanisms perplexing as well as infuriating.]

If you like Chinese tales of the supernatural, I love Pu Songling's classic Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. These tiny old-school stories are touching, perverse, instructional, and often have a surprisingly frank eroticism-- two of my favourites are the tale of a relationship between a young male fox-spirit and a human scholar, and a delightful and tender threesome story about a man who accidentally marries both a ghost and a fox-girl.

If you like Chinese crime series, I like Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen series (yes, confusing; there are two Inspector Chens). These are smart, political crime novels set in Shanghai, and Qiu's modern verse translations of Tang and Song dynasty poems (scattered throughout) are wonderful. [ETA: [personal profile] bravecows also thinks The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang looks good.]

ETA: For YA fantasy based on Chinese myths and legends, [personal profile] jonquil recommends Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, and [personal profile] holyschist recommends Laurence Yep's Dragon of the Lost Sea series. [personal profile] jhameia recommends giving A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine a try, if you don't mind some horror and gore, and [personal profile] starlady says she loves Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (for the somewhat younger crowd).

Happy new year!
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
Happy Idul Fitri! I figure I've done my Eid duty with Sixteen Days, which had a Muslim cast of thousands (okay, six), so here is something entirely unrelated.

Title: Real
Pairing: Brad/Nate
Length: 3500
Notes: An overgrown comment fic for my MRE guinea pig [livejournal.com profile] kaneko, who wanted Brad going to visiting Harvard.
Summary: He's cracking open his life like a self-storage unit that hasn't seen the light of day in years.

Real )
tevere: nate with a thousand-yard stare (thousand-yard stare)
This weekend is Timor-Leste's 10th Anniversary of the Popular Consultation for Independence. Happy anniversary, Timor-Leste, and here's to hoping the next ten are better than the first.

Title: Sixteen Days in September
Pairing: Ensemble, Brad/Nate
Length: 43,500
Warning: This is a war story, and as such contains some violence, civilian deaths including children, and a non-explicit reference to sexual violence. If you're all right with canon, you should be right with this.
Disclaimer: Many characters in this story are based upon those in HBO's fictionalised mini-series Generation Kill, and are not intended to represent the beliefs or actions of any real individuals.
Notes: Main notes at the end. Up front, though, I want to give heartfelt thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaneko, my partner in crime on all things GK! I absolutely would never have finished this without her indefatigable cheerleading and awesome beta. And many thanks also to [personal profile] norah, who generously fixed my inevitable Australianisms.

Summary: When Peace Corps assigns Nate to East Timor, a tiny half-island in eastern Indonesia, he figures he'll have a lot of time to catch up on his reading. But the year is 1999, and the shock fall of military dictator Suharto is still reverberating throughout the country, triggering changes nobody ever thought possible. As East Timor moves inexorably towards freedom – or war – Nate is drawn into events that will define the future of the province forever.

* Glossary
* Organisational Chart
* Map

Sixteen Days in September )

If you don't have a Dreamwidth account or OpenID, you can also comment over on livejournal.
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
So, Generation Kill people on my flist (yes, I know there's only two of you):

1. Get thee hence to [livejournal.com profile] romanticalgirl's story Ergo Sum (Brad/Nate). It's Brad POV, the perfect distillation of the wrongness of being home.

2. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I find myself in possession of an extra (brand new) copy of Nate Fick's book, One Bullet Away, and a worldwide shipping envelope. Drop me a comment with your email address if you're interested. Claimed!

3. Although I've been working industriously on a GK epic, here's a small GK story wot I wrote while on holiday last week:

Title: Semper Fi
Pairing: Brad/Nate
Rating: Sex of the intermediately-descriptive variety
Length: 2100
Disclaimer: This story is based strictly on the HBO miniseries, and the characters depicted therein
Note: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaneko, for cheerleading and squee-sharing
Summary: He already knows what he'd choose.

Semper Fi )
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
Just dashing in from Windy Wellington (this is a Kiwi summer? What. WHAT.) to say that I wrote Tell Me How This Ends (Sarah Connor Chronicles, gen), which I reckon must be the fruitcake of Yuletide stories: large, heavy, and nearly impossible to digest *g*. But I had a good first Yuletide experience, and I hope you all did too!


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